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15 hot takes from Greg Norman on our 19th Hole podcast

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Our Michael Williams spoke with the Great White Shark himself, Greg Norman, for GolfWRX’s 19th Hole podcast. Not surprisingly, the two-time major champion had no shortage of hot takes.

While you’ll want to check out the full ‘cast, here are 15 takes of varying degrees of hotness, from Norman’s feelings about bifurcation to whether he’d pose for ESPN’s Body Issue.

1) He wants bifurcation immediately, rolling back technology for the pros, rolling it forward for amateurs

“I would instigate a bifurcation of the rules. I would roll back the golf ball regulations to pre-1996. I would roll back the technology that’s in the golf equipment for the professionals. And I would open up the technology and give it to the masses because the pros who developed the maximum club head speed of 118, 120 are the ones who maximize what technology is in that piece of equipment. So the person who’s under 100 miles an hour does not hit the ball an extra 30, 35 yards at all. They may pick up a few yards but they don’t get the full benefit of that technology…I would definitely do that because I think we’ve gotta make the game more fun for the masses. “

2) He has no relationship with Tiger Woods and doesn’t plan to watch him play golf

“And this might sound kind of strange. What I’ll say is … I really, in all honesty, I really don’t care what Tiger does with golf. I think Tiger is, golf probably needs him to some degree but golf doesn’t need him, if you know what I mean, because there’s so many other incredibly talented great young players out there, probably a dozen of them, maybe even more, that are equal, if not way better than Tiger, and they can carry the baton of being the number one player in the world. So, I get a little bit perplexed about and disappointed about how some of these guys get pushed into the background by the attention Tiger gets. I hope he does well. If he doesn’t do well, it doesn’t bother me. If he does do well, it doesn’t bother me.”

3) He plays almost no golf these days

“I really don’t play a lot of golf. I played with my son in the father-son at the end of last year, had a blast with him. Played a little bit of golf preparing for that. But since then I have not touched a golf club.”

4) He doesn’t enjoy going to the range anymore

“To be honest with you I’m sick and tired of being on the driving range hitting thousands and thousands of golf balls. That bores me to death now. My body doesn’t like it to tell you the truth. Since I’ve stopped playing golf I wake up without any aches and pains and I can go to the gym on a regular basis without aches and pains. So my lifestyle is totally different now. My expectations, equally, is totally different.”

5) It took him a long time to get used to recreational golf

“But I’ve been in this mode now for quite a few years now so the first couple of years, yes. My body was not giving me what my brain was expecting. So you do have to make those mental adjustments. Look, there’s no difference than when you hit 40, you’re a good player or not a good player. Things start to perform differently. Your proprioception is different. Your body is different. I don’t care how good you are and how great physical shape you are. Your body after just pure wear and tear, it eventually does tend to break down a little bit. And when you’re under the heat of the battle and under the gun, when you have to execute the most precise shot, your body sometimes doesn’t deliver what you want.”

6) He’s a big Tom Brady fan

“I’m a big fan, big admirer of his. He gets out of it what he puts into it obviously…But he’s also a role model and a stimulator for his teammates. No question, when you go to play Brady and the Patriots, you’d better bring your A game because he’s already got his A game ready to go.”

7) He believes we’ll see 50-plus-year-old winners on Tour

“I said this categorically when Tom Watson nearly won at Turnberry in his 50s, when I nearly won at Royal Birkdale in my 50s….if you keep yourself physically in good shape, flexibility in good shape, as well as your swing playing, and your swing. Yeah, maybe the yips come in maybe they don’t, that depends on the individual, right? But at the end of the day, my simple answer is yes. I do believe that’s going to happen.”

8) The Shark logo has been vital to his post-golf success

“But I realized very early on in life too that every athlete, male or female, no matter what sports you play you’re a finite entity. You have a finite period of time to maximize your best performance for X number of years. And with golf, if you look at it historically, it’s almost like a 15 year cycle. I had my 15 year run. Every other player has really has had a 15 year run, plus or minus a few years.”

“So you know you have that definitive piece of time you got to work with and then what you do after that is understanding what you did in that time period. And then how do you take that and parlay it? I was lucky because I had a very recognizable logo. It wasn’t initials. It wasn’t anything like that. It was just a Great Shark logo. And that developed a lot of traction. So I learned marketing and branding very, very quickly and how advantageous it could be as you look into the future about building your businesses.”

9) He’s tried to turn on-course disappointments into positives

“We all … well I shouldn’t say we all. I should say the top players, the top sports men and women work to win. Right? And when we do win that’s what we expected ourselves to do because we push ourselves to that limit. But you look at all the great golfers of the past and especially Jack Nicklaus, it’s how you react to a loss is more important than how you react to a victory. And so, I learned that very, very early on. And I can’t control other people’s destiny. I can’t control what other people do on the golf course. So I can only do what I do. When I screw up, I use that as a very strong study point in understanding my weakness to make sure that I make a weakness a strength.”

10) Jordan Spieth is best suited to be the top player in the world

“I think that Jordan is probably the most balanced, with best equilibrium in the game. He’s probably, from what I’m seeing, completely in touch with the responsibilities of what the game of golf and the success in the game of golf is.”

11) His golf design is built on two pillars

“Two things: Begin with the end in mind and the least disturbance approach. I think we, the industry of golf course design industry, really did the game of golf a major disservice in the 80s and 90s when everybody was leveraged to the hilt, thought they had unlimited capital, and thought they could just go build these big golf courses with big amounts of money invested in with magnificent giant club houses which weren’t necessary. So, we were actually doing a total disservice to the industry because it was not sustainable.”

12) He’s still not happy about having essentially invented the WGC events and not getting credit

“I’ll always be a little bit salty about that because there’s a saying that I keep telling everybody, “slay the dreamer.” I came up with a pretty interesting concept where the players would be the part owners of their own tour or their own destiny and rewarded the riches if they performed on the highest level. And quite honestly, Michael, actually a friend of mine sent me an article, it was a column written, “Shark and Fox Plan to Take a Bite out of the PGA”. And this is written in 11/17/94 and I literally just got it last night. And I’m reading through this article and I’m going, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I was ahead of my time!” I really was ahead of my time.

So, it was very, very kind of like a reflective moment for me. I read it again this morning with a cup of coffee and I did sit back and, I’ll be brutally honest with you and your listeners, and did sit back and I did get a little bit angry because of the way I was portrayed, the way I was positioned.”

13) He was muzzled by the producer at Fox

“I’m not going to dig deep into this, I think there was just a disconnect between the producer and myself. I got on really well with the director and everybody else behind the scenes, some of my thought processes about what I wanted to talk about situations during the day, and it just didn’t pan out. And things that I wanted to say, somebody would be yelling in my ear, “Don’t say it, don’t say it!” So it became a very much a controlled environment where I really didn’t feel that comfortable.”

14) Preparation wasn’t the problem during his U.S. Open broadcast

“I was totally prepared so wherever this misleading information comes saying I wasn’t prepared, I still have copious notes and folders about my preparation with the golf course, with the players, with the set-up, with conditioning. I was totally prepared. So that’s an assumption that’s out there that is not true. So there’s a situation where you can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

15) He would do ESPN’s Body Issue

“Of course I’d do it. I think I like being fit. I think on my Instagram account I probably slipped a few images out there that created a bit of a stir…And I enjoy having myself feel good. And that’s not an egotistical thing, it’s just none of my, most of my life I’ve been very healthy fit guy and if somebody like ESPN wants to recognize that, yeah of course I would consider doing it.”

Don’t forget to listen to the full podcast here!

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Don

    Feb 19, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Norman was a great winner on the Tour, worldwide, and he did move the needle pre-Tiger days. Woods just transformed expectations in a way no one but Arnold had.

    He didn’t come through in the majors like anyone expected and he has been said to have choked by one of his main caddies. It’s what keeps me from saying he’s a ‘great champion’ v great winner. Subtle difference, at least to me.

    He is a good-looking man whom the ladies liked watching. He has been fortunate in his business decisions and had good guidance, and seems to have good instincts. Add in his success on the course (#1 in the world for years) and yes, the man has an ego. He has said some things that rub people the wrong way (‘I hit one shot that didn’t come off like I wanted it to but that’s about it. I was in awe of myself out there.’) and pays for it to this day.

    He’s not a robot in his thoughts and words, and that’s refreshing. I enjoy hearing his perspective because I get tired of the ‘everyone’s so talented, the amateurs can get 15-20 yards if they buy this (I’m looking at you frauds like Hank Haney and Dennis Paulson), every tournament is important, etc.) from the vanilla personalities out there.

    I get why he’s polarizing and I’m not convinced he’s the nicest guy on the planet to be around, but I’m glad he’s around. Makes things more interesting, and always has.

  2. HDTVMAN

    Feb 19, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Of course Tiger came after Norman, who I have great respect for, but Tiger alone raised the bar in professional golf, caused the TV ratings and prize money to explode to unbelievable heights, is responsible for the great young golfers today, and the success of the PGA Tour. It wasn’t Finchem, it was Tiger.

  3. Bruce.

    Feb 19, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Who cares !!!!!!!!

    • JOEL GOODMAN

      Feb 19, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      NORMAN WAS A GOOD PLAYER AND NOW IS A HASBEEN THAT CAN’T STAND THE FACT THAT HE IS A ZERO AND TIGER IS STILL REAL NEWS AND AN IDOL FOR MANY. NORMAN IS A LEGEND ONLY IN HIS OWN MIND, AND A VERY SMALL ONE AT THAT.

      • Darryl

        Feb 19, 2018 at 9:13 pm

        I’m glad you type in all caps because I wasn’t sure what you were trying to convey. Greg was a great player period. You and others have every right to not like the man, but to deny he was a great player is flat out incorrect.

  4. Jack Nash

    Feb 19, 2018 at 11:21 am

    See there’s the usual people who hate others speaking their mind. Interesting article for sure. Very savvy businessman, who’s accomplished a lot. Still say he was 100% spot on about the WGC events. I remember him and Finchem having different views on it, then years later the WGC was born. Guess they wanted to wait for Woods.

  5. Dag Lonnroth

    Feb 18, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Spot on.

  6. Patricknorm

    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Greg Norman has nothing to apologize for. He had a very good golf career with a few heartbreaker performances. I thought he should have had quite a few more majors. Off the course however, his career is unparalleled. No brand is stronger amongst current golfers other than Arnold Palmer. I actually enjoy when Norman speaks because he very intelligent and insightful. It was a clearly a poor fit at Fox because doesn’t do a particularly good job at any major sport. Maybe Nascar, but every other sport they seem to butcher.
    Norman would have been a better fit at CBS.

  7. Jimmy Divoux

    Feb 17, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Never been a Greg Norman fan, regardless of his game; his ego overwhelms me … Perhaps he is envious of TW’s inside the ropes accomplishments. Following. Dunno.

  8. Scarface

    Feb 17, 2018 at 9:10 am

    He sounds like a typical ungrateful egotistical maniac

  9. Matt

    Feb 16, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    Liked Norman as a competitor but really don’t care for is post career musings. If I want an opinion from what it’s like to fold like a cheap suit when challenged I’ll ask Greg or Iron Mike.

    • Hersh E. Highway

      Feb 17, 2018 at 12:29 am

      Thanks Matt for your pre-career musings! Come back and join us when you can drive.

      • Sam Sung

        Feb 17, 2018 at 1:00 am

        Hersh, thank you for your quick wit! It is really helpful.

      • Matt

        Feb 17, 2018 at 4:22 pm

        You’re right he was fantastic at Chamber’s Bay, might be the best TV analysis ever…..

  10. steve

    Feb 16, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    16) Go to the 30 minute mark of his podcast and listen for one minute…. where he tells it like it is about golf equipment reality. 😮

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